bookmark_borderSetting up WordPress blogs on Flickr properly

En el Desierto - Flickr NO SE VENDE
En el Desierto – Flickr NO SE VENDE, a photo by Rocorocks on Flickr.
Flickr allows you to connect your WordPress blog, which allows you to use a Flickr photo to illustrate a blog posting by pressing a button.

(I always use this in conjunction with Donncha Ó Caoimh’s “Blog This To Draft” to prevent it from getting published immediately.)

However, Flickr’s standard WordPress code isn’t very good. It encapsulates the whole thing in <div>s, which means that WordPress cannot work out that it’s an image, which leads to all sorts of problems when you’re trying to pull out the first chunk of text from a posting, for instance in an RSS feed.

However, if you know what you’re doing, it’s quite easy to change. You need to go to your Flickr settings, and then click on the “Sharing & Extending” tab.

You should now see your blog (if it isn’t there, add it by clicking on “More sites” and following the instructions).

Now click on the “edit” button next to the name of your blog, and click on “select a blog layout”.

Now pick one of the layouts by clicking on it, and then choose “customize”.

This should display some HTML code such as this (I’ve added some white-space):

<div style="float: right; width: 240px;
    margin: 0 0 10px 10px; padding: 0;
    font-size: 0.8em; line-height: 1.6em;">
  <a href="{photo_url}" title="{photo_title}">
    <img src="{photo_src_m}" alt="{photo_title}
      by {uploader_name}" />
  <span style="margin: 0;">
    <a href="{photo_url}">{photo_title}</a>,
    a photo by <a href="{uploader_profile}">
    on Flickr.
<br clear="all" />

Now change it to use WordPress’s [caption] syntax, e.g.:

[caption align="alignright" width="240px"]
  <a href="{photo_url}">
    <img src="{photo_src_m}" alt="{photo_title}"
      width="240px" class="size-thumbnail" />
  <a href="{photo_url}">{photo_title}</a>,
  a photo by
  <a href="{uploader_profile}">{uploader_name}</a>
  on Flickr.

Now click “preview”. This will look dreadful, because this is WordPress code, not HTML, but just click on “save this layout” anyway.

You should now be able to use the “share” button on Flickr to generate pretty WordPress posts.

bookmark_borderPutting your kids inside the cage

Stumbling upon a python
Stumbling upon a python, a photo by viralbus on Flickr.
During my recent trip to Denmark with Léon, Anna and Amaia, my mum and I took Léon and Anna to Randers Regnskov (while my dad looked after Amaia, who had got a chest infection).

As always, it was a great experience, so much better than Eden.

If you don’t know the place, the idea is to take a zoo and a greenhouse, and then take the animals out of the zoo and put them and the visitors into the greenhouse together. This means that monkeys, parrots, leaf-cutter ants, pythons and bats might suddenly be sitting on your shoulder (the really dangerous animals, such as rattle snakes and Komodo dragons, are still locked up).

Furthermore, you can help feed the animals at specific times, and Léon loved feeding the bats just as much as Anna enjoyed feeding the manatees.

Apart from the winter months, you can fly directly from Edinburgh to Billund (home to Legoland and the Lion Park), which is about 80 miles south-west of Randers, so it’s really quite easy to get to.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the photo — it really is a live python next to Léon!

bookmark_borderTravelling with stepchildren

UK Border
Originally uploaded by Mesq

When I travelled to Denmark ten days ago with Amaia, Anna and Léon, nobody asked us any questions (Amaia, Anna and I were using our Danish passports and Léon his British one).

However, when we returned last Wednesday, Léon and I were interviewed for a couple of minutes by the border police in Stansted (our relationship, his date of birth, and who I was). They also told me it would have helped if I had brought his birth certificate.

It’s great they’re trying to do something about child abductions, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to ask the questions when you leave the country where the child is a citizen rather than when you bring them back?

I also fail to understand what difference a birth certificate would have made. If it had been combined with our marriage certificate, I guess it would have shown a link between us, but surely unmarried stepdads and grandparents and the like are allowed to take kids on holiday, too?

The border police need to state clearly which documents they want to see to allow for smooth passage if the passports aren’t enough any more. Otherwise it becomes completely unpredictable whether you’ll be allowed to travel or not, which isn’t very satisfactory.

bookmark_border“Trods alt det” af Rabbie Burns

I Danmark er det eneste kendte Burns-digt vel Skuld gammel venskab rejn forgo, men Jeppe Aakjær var faktisk en stor beundrer af den skotske barde og oversatte mange andre af hans digte.

I Skotland er A man’s a man for a’ that vel stort set lige så berømt some Auld lang syne, og det var også blandt de digte, som Aakjær oversatte.

Desværre oversatte han det dog til rigsdansk, ikke til jysk, og resultatet er et ret højtideligt sprog, som ikke er nært så mundret som den skotske original og Aakjærs jyske digte.

Men i det mindste havde han styr på versefødderne, så oversættelsen kan synges lige så godt som originalen:

  1. Om en af ærlig Fattigdom
    gav Kampen op, og alt det,
    den Stymper gaar vi udenom,
    i Nøden stolt trods alt det.
    Trods alt det og alt det,
    vort sure Stræb og alt det:
    Din Rang er blot Dukatens Præg,
    dens Guld du selv, trods alt det.

  2. Og er vor Dragt end lidet fin,
    vor Kost kun knap og alt det,
    giv Taaber Silke, Skjælme Vin,
    en Mand er Mand trods alt det.
    Trods alt det og alt det,
    trods Gøglets Glans og alt det,
    Retsindets Mand, om nok saa lav,
    er størst blandt Mænd trods alt det.

  3. Se dristigt paa hin Herremand,
    betragt hans Pragt og alt det;
    har han end tusind Tønder Land,
    er han en Nar trods alt det.
    Trods alt det og alt det,
    hans Baand og Kors og alt det,
    et stolt og uafhængigt Sind
    har ikkun Smil for alt det.

  4. Baroner bages bedst ved Gunst,
    Lensgrever med og alt det,
    men det steg over Kongers Kunst
    at skabe Mænd trods alt det.
    Trods alt det og alt det,
    et malet Skjold og alt det,
    den klare Kløgt, den sunde Sans
    i Rang staar over alt det.

  5. Gid hver maa se det store ske
    — og ske det skal trods alt det!
    at Brav-Mands Dont Evropa rundt
    faar Hæd’rens Plads trods alt det!
    Trods alt det og alt det,
    den Dag er nær trods alt det,
    da Mand og Bror er samme Navn
    al Jorden om trods alt det!


Anna slår katten af tønden
Originally uploaded by viralbus

People in Denmark (and, I believe, Norway) celebrate carnival like Catholic countries in spite of Denmark being a country with a Lutheran state church.

However, Fastelavn is very different from the Brazilian carnival. It’s much closer to Hallowe’en: The kids dress us and they go guising from door to door. They also “knock the cat out of the barrel” (although no cat is involved any more) — you can see Anna taking part on the photo on the right — and eat special sweet rolls.

It’s a very sweet tradition, and I think Léon, Anna and Amaia really enjoyed celebrating it together with Danish kids in Denmark this year — although Anna was a wee bit surprised that all the other kids in the school group were much bigger than her (Danish kids start school two years later than here).

bookmark_borderFlying with home brew

When I visited Denmark a few days ago (together with Léon, Anna and Amaia, but that’s another story), I wanted to take a few bottles of my home-brewed beer to inflict on old friends, so I wrapped eight bottles up in my best clothes and handed the suitcase over to Norwegian (they fly Edinburgh-Copenhagen, even during winter).

When we finally got to Århus, I unwrapped the bottles, and apart from one (which had leaked a little), they seemed to have survived the trip.

The next day I met up with an old friend of mine, Jes, who also happens to be a home-brewer, and I proudly poured him a glass of my fine brew. Or so I thought.

The beer was producing much more foam than it does here, and the taste had deteriorated. Jes was being very polite about it, but I was disappointed.

The next day I was visiting another old friend, Thomas Mailund, and I brought him a couple of bottles, too. I was hoping that the problems had perhaps been resolved by letting the bottles rest a little longer, but unfortunately it tasted even worse than the day before, not just yeasty but also sour.

So I have to conclude that my home brew doesn’t travel. If you want to taste it, you have to visit me here in Scotland! 🙂